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WASHINGTON: US Secretary of State Antony Blinken vowed Tuesday that the West will never recognize Russia’s annexation of Ukrainian territory, which he called part of a “diabolical scheme” by Moscow.

“We and many other countries have already been crystal clear. We will not – indeed, we will never – recognize the annexation of Ukrainian territory by Russia,” Blinken told reporters as Kremlin proxies started to claim victory.

Blinken repeated President Joe Biden’s threat that the United States “will impose additional swift and severe costs on Russia” for going ahead with the referendums.

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“It’s important to remember what’s going on here. Russia invaded Ukraine, seized territory and is engaged in a diabolical scheme on some of the territory it seized where it has moved the local populace out,” he said.

Some people are deported and others “simply disappear,” Blinken said.

“Then they bus Russians in, they install puppet governments and they engage in the referendum and manipulate, in any event, the outcome to then claim that the territory belongs to Russia,” he said.

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